Friday Fave: Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend is, first and foremost, a time to honor the men and women who died while serving in the military.  But for many people (including me), it is also the unofficial kick-off of summer.  Even though I have two days of school left next week, it still feels like summer begins tomorrow.

That might just be because I’m going on a mini-vacation this weekend!  The destination is New York City, and it will actually be my second trip to the Big Apple already this year (read about my first one here).  But this time I’m leaving the hubby behind and meeting up with my best friend Katie for a girls’ weekend.  She’s getting married next year, and since I’m the Maid of Honor, I have the privilege of helping her find a wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses.

So that will be our top priority, but we also have a few other fun plans.  Those include seeing Sean Hayes (of Will & Grace fame) and Kristin Chenoweth in the Broadway musical Promises, Promises, hitting up a few tourist destinations, and meeting up with another good friend who lives in the city.  I’ll have a full report when I return on Tuesday!

What are your plans for Memorial Day weekend?  I hope you’re doing something fun, exciting, and/or restful, depending on your mood.  Be safe and enjoy!

The End is Near…

The end of the school year, that is!  There are a few big events at the school where I work which signify that summer break is upon us.  One of those events happened just yesterday and is my very favorite of the whole year.

It doesn’t get much better than having all of the students faculty, and staff gathered in one place, singing the songs we’ve been working on in music therapy all year. And better yet, I have a full band! With Mike on bass, Joe on guitar, and Jayne (who unfortunately is not pictured; she is to the right of me) on drums, our songs get quite the rock ‘n roll treatment.

But the fun’s not over yet.  Tomorrow morning, our graduation ceremony will be held in the very same room.  Graduation is always a bittersweet event; as happy as I am for the students, I’m still sad to see them go.  This year I’ll be singing “For Good” (from the musical Wicked) during the ceremony.

Next Wednesday is our last day of school, and in the afternoon we’ll have our annual talent show.  It’s always so entertaining to watch not only students and entire classes, but also various faculty and staff, get up on stage and show off their dancing, singing, and instrument-playing talents.  A couple of classrooms will be performing music therapy “hits” – an awesome choice of repertoire, if you ask me :)

So that’s what is going on around here.  Now I must get to something I’ve been putting off all month…creating summer song packets and CDs for each class.  Although there will be a sub (not a music therapist, but a music teacher who is very skilled in working with my student population) taking over for the summer, I still like to leave materials behind so that the teachers can continue reinforcing the skills and concepts we’ve spent all year learning.  Plus, I don’t want everyone to forget me while I’m away!

Anywhere, Anytime

I’ve been working closely with one of my school’s speech therapists for the last couple of months, and the other day she came to me with a new song idea. She told me that she was sitting in church, singing the African American spiritual “I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me” with the rest of the congregation, when she realized that it would make a great tune for our students.

The three things she always reminds the kids to do are: listen, work, and practice.  Those three words are the basis of this adapted song, and they really do apply to most things in our kids’ lives.  Whether it’s a skill they are learning at school, a chore they are responsible for at home, or even a fun new experience such as riding a bike, all of those things require listening, working, and practicing.

I’m gonna listen so I can learn more,
Anywhere and anytime.
I’m gonna listen, so I can learn more,
Anywhere and anytime.

I’m gonna work so I can do more,
Anywhere and anytime.
I’m gonna work so I can do more,
Anywhere and anytime.

I’m gonna practice so I can be more,
Anywhere and anytime.
I’m gonna practice so I can be more,
Anywhere and anytime.

How could you apply this song to your own students’ lives?  I’m thinking of singing it with my piano students at the end of each lesson, especially those who often “forget” to practice!

Sunday Singalong: Ready, Set, Wait!

I really wanted to film this week’s video outside, but unfortunately my cameraman (aka my husband) was taking a nap after a long day of yard work and soccer.  My usual studio setting will have to do for today, but there will be more outdoor videos in the near future!

I chose “Ready, Set, Wait!” (read more and download it here) as this week’s song because first of all, it’s been awhile since I actually sang one of my own Listen & Learn songs in a Sunday Singalong video.  Second, I’ve been singing it a lot lately with my kiddos, and I always get such a positive response.  Third, I just really like it!  Hope you do, too.

If you have a song in mind for next week’s video, let me know.  If I choose your suggestion, you get a free album download of your choice.

Tomorrow begins the last full week of school before…summer break!  It’s also my last full week of music therapy and lessons for my private practice, after which we’ll have a two-week break.  I’m kicking off my mini-vacation with a Memorial Day weekend trip to New York City, but before I get to that, I have a very busy five days ahead.  Ready, set, GO!

Friday Fave: Episode 4 of Our Podcast

The Music Therapy Round Table is a monthly podcast series hosted by myself, Kimberly S. Moore, and Michelle Erfurt.  In case you haven’t already read the back-story, here’s a recap: Michelle and I met back in 2008 after she visited my blog.  Kimberly and I met in mid-2009 through Twitter.  The three of us came together for the first time at the AMTA national conference in San Diego last year, and decided to collaborate on a new podcast centered around music therapy.  We recorded our first episode via Skype back in February, and now here we are, three months (and three episodes) later.

In Episode 4, we discuss a topic every single therapist will have to deal with: change. Whether moving to a new studio, moving out-of-town, or going on maternity leave, what’s the most appropriate way to handle these major life transitions with your clients? Listen in as we share stories of how we handled change and discuss things that helped us and our clients.  You can either listen directly on our blog, or find us on iTunes and download the episodes to your iPod or iPhone.

We make this announcement in the episode, but I also thought I’d share with you here that at this year’s AMTA national conference, the three of us will be presenting a 5-hour CMTE (that stands for “continuing music therapy education” for you non-MTs) course on the topic of using the internet and social media for business and advocacy.  We’re super excited about this opportunity – it’s a big one!

So if you haven’t already, check out our podcast.  Oh, and while we’re on the subject of podcasts, I should mention two others that I’d recommend.  Janice Harris’ Music Therapy Show and Wade Richards’ Time for Music Podcast are excellent, so check them out as well!